Yakuza tattoo

Yakuza Tattoos: History, Meaning, Ideas, Designs

Throughout the early days of time, the Yakuza have been inextricably linked to the Japanese Irezumi inking custom. Tattoo meanings in the Yakuza are frequently connected to representations and meanings found in Japanese art, tradition, and religion. Particularly body tattoos are really a way for the yakuza to exhibit their beliefs. In the past, getting inked was required for membership in several Yakuza gangs.

Japanese tattoos with its culture is a famous piece in the world of tattoos. So there are many people who are a big fan of Traditional Japanese history along with its series of tattoos. Yakuza tattoos are one of the popular ones from that category. But it has a very interesting background with crime and the underworld.

The design is really unique so those who go for the tattoo without any knowledge, sometimes they face trouble. So before you decide, check out the proper history and actual meanings of the Yakuza tattoo here in this well researched article.

Yakuza Tattoos With Interesting History And Background

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Japanese mafia organizations collectively known as the Yakuza have existed ever since until the Edo era. The Yakuza are a global group that engage in criminal activity. Their everyday lives consist of racketeering, illegal gambling, trading in weapons, and similar activities.

There was a time when the Yakuza were stigmatized as criminals, therefore it was challenging to figure out how to return to normal and get employment. As a kind of resistance to this kind of labeling, the Japanese Yakuza began to tattoo their members. Throughout the following many generations, the yakuza gangs developed several customs, such as physical alteration and tattoos. One custom, called yubitsume, involves chopping off tips from the finger to express regret towards the mob for disobeying.

Since ink is associated with criminality in Japan, yakuza groups usually have them placed on places on their bodies which may be covered up by apparel. Yakuza tattoos frequently wrap around the body, from the legs to the wristbands and the neckline, allowing the wearer to display their palms, toes, and faces in open without drawing attention to the body modification that is hidden behind their attire. Several yakuza in full body have a patch of exposed skin along the middle of their chest, allowing the wearer to zip his clothing despite revealing his tattoos.

In order to differentiate himself towards other yakuza associates and carry metaphorical symbols on their skins, members of the gang also started to change the way they looked by getting agonizing tattoos, known as irezumi (hand pricked tattoos). An irezumi full body covers a means for even a yakuza criminal to demonstrate their bravery and tenacity due to the horrific experience.

Unknown Facts And Slick Meanings Of Yakuza Tattoos

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h gang tattoos. Yakuza tattoos have a mystic attraction due to the intense mystery surrounding them, the agonizing “hand-poking” technique used to apply the patterns, and the affiliation with the Japanese criminal underground. Most of the designs and the motifs are generally inspired by Japanese culture and its great mythologies. As Japan is considered to be one of the most enriched countries in culture and customs.

Also the Japanese apparently consider the dialect of the yakuza to be mysterious. Nonetheless, there don’t seem to be any restrictions on how they are made or what they imply. The Yakuza are operatives of the Japanese underworld who link together in their gangs of deadly criminal organizations by getting ornate tattoos. With accuracy, suffering, endurance, and affection, these metaphorical body piercings create an extraordinarily complex tattoo culture that dates back hundreds of years.

The yakuza choose emblems depending upon its symbolic meanings: the koi stands for bravery, the dragon for knowledge, the tiger for power, and the snake for healing. A major criteria for tattoos among group members seems to be that they shouldn’t be noticeable in ordinary routine. The calf, forearms, arms, necks, and forehead are some body regions that are left bare and any tattooing is covered up by clothes.

The Yakuza holds an interesting history so each of the tattoo designs has meaning of its own. Though the different members have different stories to tell, so the symbols which suits the member, usually they go for it. Besides nowadays for its interesting design, many young enthusiasts are going for the Yakuza tattoo.

Distinctive Yakuza Tattoos Ideas!

As the Yakuza tattoos are an ancient design and used by a definite group of people, so for a long time this was hidden among most of the parts of the world. As now the world is within the technological grasp, so all history and almost everything is shared with the internet.

I have researched the Yakuza tattoos for quite a long time, I know about their motifs and themes by now. So I have tried to collect all the best possible Yakuza tattoo ideas for you with very unique designs from the past along with the modern time designs.

Yakuza Back Tattoo

Yakuza back tattoo

Irezumi, a Japanese body art technique, was successfully implemented by the Yakuza, or Japanese gangsters, who utilized tattoos to mark individuals as gangsters. The members usually chose the back side as it can be easily hidden.

The design can be the usuals like the koi, dragon, snake or the symbols that are mostly used by the Yakuza’s. As the Back side has enough space, the tattoos are huge and cover almost all the parts of the Back.

The attractive part of the tattoo is the variations of color. You can see in the tattoo there are a mix of colors and each subject holds a different color of its own. The shades and patterns are different but the Yakuza Back tattoos are the most used and popular design till now.

Yakuza Dragon Tattoo

Yakuza dragon tattoo

Mainly the dragon tattoo represents the symbol of Wisdom, power and courage. As the design is very attractive, people, mainly men, are fond of this tattoo very much. The Yakuza’s use this tattoo for their traditional looks.

Dragon tattoo in the eastern culture is a sign of authority, frequently denoting knowledge, liberation, and courage. Dragons, on the other hand, were viewed as wicked beasts in Europe and were exterminated. Considering your personality and where you’re from, your dragon tattoo will represent something different.

Here the Dragon tattoo is located on thigh and you can see the vibrant colors that make the tattoo more alluring and it catches the eyes very easily. The design is quite complicated and the traditional looks are used frequently.

  Yakuza Sleeve Tattoo

Yakuza sleeve tattoo

Cherry blossoms are important to Japanese culture as they stand for existence and fleeting essence. After falling off the plant, these blooms are dispersed by the elements and disappear from the land.

With your own alterations, you may make this yakuza sleeve tattoo, which features a cherry blossom and a snake, acceptable for both men and women. Snakes are connected to the planet’s strength, prophecy, and knowledge in Japanese folklore.

The tattoo is much more lifelike because it is done in natural colors. The shades and the details are the main attraction of the Sleeve tattoos. Size of the design actually varies with the shape of the sleeves. The design extends up to the forearms so that the Yakuza could hide the tattoos.

 Samurai Yakuza Tattoo

Samurai Yakuza tattoo

The Yakuza frequently embrace samurai-style customs and respect their valor and Robin-Hood-like objectives. As a result, they frequently have samurai tattoos to symbolize the significance of upholding an ethical policy. Samurai derived from the ancient culture and the use of this design is from the very beginning of the tattoo culture.

If you are thinking of a traditional look in the Yakuza Samurai tattoo like the one here on the sleeves, you have to think about the colors as much as possible as the colors are the main attraction of the tattoo for its visual attraction.

Yakuza Tiger Tattoo

Yakuza tiger tattoo

The characteristics we associate with actual tigers—strength, bravery, and longevity are also present in the Japanese tiger tattoo. The tiger tattoo also serves as a protection against sickness, unlucky, and evil spirits. These designs and ideas are used from ancient times.

The tattoo here covers not only the back but extends the hips and ends before the thighs. These are the original examples of a prime Yakuza tattoo. The tiger is one of the symbols which are mainly used in the Yakuza tattoos. The design and the color is the main attraction of a Yakuza Tiger tattoo.

Yakuza Female Tattoo

Yakuza female tattoo

Yakuza women don’t participate in illegal operations, with the exception of American mob spouses. Even though the women are essential to the gang’s operation, handling funds, settling disputes, and offering emotional help, they are not permitted to actively participate or hold legal membership.

Still there are a number of females who consider this tattoo and take the design in their accounts and they actually go for the design like the one in the picture here. Sleeves, chests, shoulders, arms, backs are the preferable position for a Yakuza Female tattoo.

 Yakuza Chest Tattoo

Yakuza chest tattoo

Chest tattoos show much masculinity and the gents love this position very much. As universally people think our courage and confidence lies on our chests, so they go for the tattoos which generate these meanings as well. Beside the Yakuza’s other favorite spot is the Chest after the Back position.

The design and the size mainly depends on the shape of the user’s chest. Usually Yakuza Chest tattoos are fully covered and are colorful as well. Sometimes the designs extend up to the arms and the abdomen of the body.

Full Body Yakuza Tattoo

Full Body Yakuza tattoo

The above full-body Yakuza tattoo features a samurai in the manner of a brave fighter, signifying the Samurai tenets. Fidelity, solid action, fortitude, and honor are values emphasized by the deeply ingrained Buddhist and Confucian beliefs.

As a result of their long-standing acceptance of various Samurai viewpoints, the Yakuza are considered the protectors of traditional Japanese customs. This tattoo is etched all over the body in a variety of colors to give it a visual effect. The various colors and the extended full body design are the main attributes of this special tattoo.

Yakuza Game Tattoo

Yakuza game tattoo

One of the major heroes and a recurrent figure in Sega’s Yakuza video game franchise is GoroMajima. The protagonist character’s portrait face as well as various generic game-related elements are featured in this tattoo design. In this modern era, video games are popular so people are also going for tattoos related to video games

This tattoo employs various colors and shades instead of just black, which gives the artwork a more realistic appearance. Everyone who likes these kinds of tattoos thinks this one is remarkable.

Yakuza Leg Tattoo

Yakuza leg tattoo

This yakuza leg tattoo frequently features a Koi fish, which is symbolic of fortune and success. According to Japanese mythology, koi can cross waterfalls and swim against the heavier side. Thus, while they represent resolve, Koi may also signify that the user has endured unfavorable occurrences. As a result, males typically consider their chest to be the ideal location for these tattoos.

Yakuza Forearm Tattoo

Yakuza forearm tattoo

The actual member of the Yakuza actually avoided the forearms space for the tattoo designs. As their main objective was to hide behind the clothes and the forearm is quite an explicit place for a tattoo. But in modern times, people look for Yakuza tattoos as pleasure and beauty, so for showing off they chose the forearms though the space is not enough for a large design like the Yakuza tattoos.

 Yakuza Thigh Tattoo

Yakuza thigh tattoo

Japanese mask designs are highly regarded for use in theater, carnivals, as well as a number of religious occasions. The pattern on these thighs serves as influence and is a well-liked tattoo design. Although it could be a little frightening to look at, it also represents godspeed and is employed to fend against evil. A lady devoured by desire and affection may also be shown by this tattoo design.

Yakuza Arm Tattoo

Yakuza arm tattoo

Yakuza tattoos are well liked by the gents mostly, and if it comes to a Samurai design, then there is no doubt that they go crazy for it. The Samurai symbolize warrior, strength, patience, valor etc. The outlook is jaw-dropping as you can see the design on the Arms. Though the Yakuza tattoos extend more than this design, still people now try this type of tattoo for their own purpose.

People always find it fascinating to have a tattoo like a Yakuza. This tattoo is not only traditional but the design is very much different and has several specialties. If you are thinking of a Yakuza tattoo and want to have a closer look at how it is done, check out the video here, which will surely help you to understand the tattoo more clearly.

 Find Out More Styles On Yakuza Tattoo

There are several more Yakuza tattoo designs but the best ones are hard to find. So to make things easier for you check out these selected best designs specially collected for you!

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At the end of any topic there are some questions that come to mind subconsciously. In case you have missed something. You can check out these questions for further information.

Q: Is getting a Yakuza tattoo acceptable?

Ans: You may obtain a classical yakuza tattoo, of course. You won’t have any issues because the Yakuza don’t utilize tattoos to distinguish their guys. These tattoos are individual and were inspired by Japanese mythology, metaphor, and artwork.

Q: Why are Yakuza inks covered up?

Ans: They will wear complete body coverings that are covered by collars and cuffs because they think tattoos should be kept secret. In a similar sense, Japanese society’s shame has prevented tattoo practice from obstructing daily life.

Q: What restrictions apply to Yakuza tattoos?

Ans: Usually the tattoo covers the whole body but it is also obligatory to cover up the tattoos when necessary. All around the body except the forearms and shin, these are mainly the restriction of the tattoos.

Q: Do female Yakuza exist?

Ans: The Yakuza is virtually exclusively made up of men, and the only women who are recognized are the spouses of chiefs, who are called “ane-san”


Japanese syndicates could only get yakuza tattoos since the Japanese government outlawed them in the middle of the twentieth century. Yet since it blends conventional conceptual art with a touch of heritage, it is being utilized by individuals from both sides of the legal system. Now as the days go by, people all around the world are knowing more about Yakuza and tattoos as well.

Human nature has a tendency to go for illegal things. Tattoo itself is illegal in many parts,  when it comes to Yakuza, it is more restricted. But all these things are getting away each day and people feel more interested about history and new tattoo designs.

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